Locus of control is the degree to which an individual believes that his or her behavior has direct impact on the consequences of that behavior. Some people, for example, believe that if they work hard they will certainly succeed. They, strongly believe that each individual is in control of his or her life. They are said to have an internal locus of control. By contrast, some people think that what happens to them is a result of fate, chance, luck or the behavior of other people, rather than the lack of skills or poor performance on their part. Because- these individuals think that forces beyond their control dictate the happenings around them, they are said to have an external locus of control.
As a personality attribute, locus of control has clear implications for organizations. For example, certain individuals have an internal locus of control, which means they have a relatively strong desire to participate in the management of their organizations and have a’ freedom to do their jobs. Thus, they may prefer a decentralized organization where they have a right of decision-making and work with a leader who provides them freedom and autonomy. They may like a reward system that recognizes individual performance and contributions.
Conversely, people with an external locus of control, are likely to prefer a more centralized organization where they need not take any decisions. They may incline to structured jobs where standard procedures are defined for them. They may prefer a leader who makes most of the decisions and a reward system that considers seniority rather than merit.